- Forward thinking
In some ways it’s an annoying catch phrase, but the underpinning sentiment rings true in any competitive marketplace. Becoming a leader in your industry will require vision, dedication and a strong team in order to deliver cutting edge services or products. Of course, one great idea these days is not enough to monopolise a market for an extended period unless your business offers something that is very advanced, or utterly inimitable.
Some companies embrace the fact that their creations will be mimicked and file open-source patents. Therefore, although there will be copies of unique products or services you provide, you will have done it first and while everyone is catching up, you’re in research and development for your next invention while you capitalise on your original creations. That way when you see an office or factories for sale, you may have enough equity in your business to attract investors instead of seeking a bank loan.
Developing a reputation for contributing to a sector more widely will also assist your small business to develop a legacy and brand strength. These are priceless assets and a step towards future proofing your enterprise.
- Innovation efficacy
Once you’ve readjusted your focus from day-to-day operations to incorporate broader business goals, your small business needs the practical ability to get to the next level.
Recognising and acting on opportunities is an essential technique that’ll need to cultivate. The processes that feed opportunity identification are relatively emerging in business studies, yet there is an understanding that a prevention focus will translate into a loss averse or avoidance business environment, while a promotional focus encourages aspirational goals and appreciation of novel information – conditions that enhance opportunity recognition.
A big part of innovation efficacy will reside in the personal outlooks of your managing staff. That is, even if organisationally you have made changes to foster an innovative culture, your managers will place a fundamental role in shaping the extent to which this culture is enacted in practice. One simple way to reinforce this enactment is to implement managerial goal setting specific to entrepreneurial efforts. However, as the personal attributes of your managers will vary, avoid a one size fits all approach to this task and the facilitation of innovation more generally.
- Zoom, Zoom
Dubbed the holy grail of branding, Mazda’s ‘zoom-zoom’ campaign by WB Doner was deployed in the 1990s to redefine their brand amongst a full market of car manufacturers.
Like Mazda, reviewing your current communications strategy is required once your competitors start to define you, rather than yourself. You might still have a good, solid brand but communicating what your business does to stand out from the crowd can be a more complex task. Begin by asking what differentiates you from the rest, defining what you do well and then link it to the desires of your current or potential clients.
This is the beginning step in towards a comprehensive brand strategy that you can develop to engage staff and customers alike.